MANILA, Philippines – Horacio “Atio” Castillo III may not have died as a lawyer, but he died “more like a president,” his uncle, Dr Gerry Castillo said, after Atio was laid to rest in Manila Memorial Park, Paranaque on Wednesday, September 27.
Butterflies were released from baskets as Atio’s family let him go in peace. Boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and packs of Piattos were laid out beside his casket—his favorite snacks, his family said.
Atio’s dog, Lega, was also present in the funeral donning a white T-shirt with his master’s face, and the words #JusticeForHoracio.
Groups of relatives, friends, and classmates all turned emotional as they laid their eyes on Atio for the last time.
In the burial mass at Sanctuario de San Antonio in Makati, Atio’s namesake and father Horacio Castillo Jr remembered his favorite moments with his son.
On May 26, 1995, Horacio Jr said he had the best day of his life as his first child Atio was born.
“I could not express the gladness i felt when I held him in my arms,” Horacio Jr said. “I am now a father. We are now family,” he remembers himself saying.
Growing up, Atio lived “excited for everything.” He had many dreams and aspirations. He was “righteous and kind to all,” and fearful of God.
Atio was “a man for others.”
At age 22, he decided to pursue his dreams as a lawyer. But barely two months in law school, “he was brutally murdered” by his fellow aspiring lawyers.
“These so-called fraternity brothers robbed him of his dreams and aspirations,” he said.
Horacio Jr remembers Atio as “a good son, a perfect son, the best son any parent could ever have.” He thanked him for being his son, for the love, hugs, kisses, and smiles.
“We will miss you so much but we will be okay,” he said. “We will let you go now because we love you very much.”
A poweful fight
After the burial mass for Horacio, the family called for help from friends and relatives either through “donations” or giving “awareness.”
A BDO account and a GoFundMe account was flashed on the screens calling for donations for the family. Gerry Castillo later on explained to the media that the money will be used for the long fight ahead even as Atio has been laid to rest.
“We are going to fight a very very powerful law firm,” Gerry said.
“You are involved! You just don’t know it, but I know,” he added. “You heard it from the senate. People of the Philippines are not dumb! They are not stupid, we are not stupid.”
Atio’s uncle could be referring to the law firm representing principal suspect John Paul Solano or the Divina Law Firm owned by UST Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina.
Both Solano and Divina were questioned in the Senate hearing on Monday, September 25. Earlier today, Department of Justice also ordered the release of Solano from detention pending further investigation on the criminal complaints filed to him.
Gerry said he would “let the law take its course,” in regards to Solano’s temporary freedom.
“I will fight for Atio’s justice, even if he’s gone. Bahala na ang Panginoon sa inyo.” – Rappler.com